How to Find the Right Bag

mens guide to bags 1 How to Find the Right Bag
For these men unsure or uncertain of what qualifies as a manly bag, and what doesn’t, EveryGuyed has assembled this Guide to Bags. Our staff has put together some rules, advice, tips, and definitions to help you add that perfect combination of style and practicality to your look.

The Backpack

mens guide to bags 2 How to Find the Right Bag
It’s the classic bag. So classic that it’s almost impossible to really make any kind of fashion statement with a simple backpack, and yet that’s what makes it so great. It’s practical and often subdued; a workhorse to carry any manner of stuff you sling into it.

There are generally two types of backpacks, framed, and frameless. A frameless backpack is your classic schoolboy bag. You can find these in any manner of sizes and materials, which means that while a classic canvas Jansport bag is great for a weekend of casual workplaces; a finely constructed backpack out of a distressed leather or waxed canvas can really set off a suit and provide welcome relief from the briefcase set.

A framed backpack is a larger, more complicated affair used for hiking, and other outdoor activities, and backpacking. Because a frameless backpack is only made for carrying loads of no greater than 5 kg, larger weights are best kept in a framed backpack, which uses its frame to better distribute weight across your back.

There are generally two types of backpacks, framed, and frameless

You should own at least one good, frameless bag for practicalities sake, for the most part inexpensive and available in many ways to suit any taste. Make sure it’s roomy enough to carry what you need, and that it rests comfortably on your back.

The backpack however, is strictly a utility bag. It’s easily the least fashion conscious, and most functional of all bags on this list, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a day trip, or building an outfit.

The Briefcase

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The working man’s bag of choice for decades, the briefcase looks good, whether it’s carrying something as mundane as your lunch, or nuclear secrets while handcuffed to your wrist.

Derived from bags used by Italians in the 14th century to carry money and valuables, the briefcase is the go-to bag for the 9-to-5 business set.

Generally speaking, the boxier the briefcase, the more formal it appears. A soft-sided folio case goes well with a cardigan and jeans at a design firm’s Monday meeting, but a boxy attaché case looks its best when carried to a court hearing, or stuffed full of ransom money.

Just be conscious of how big you need your briefcase to be, since in recent years they have blown up in size to accommodate any manner of things. Select one that’s average to small in size and edit what you carry around, there’s no need to have your entire life hanging from your wrist.

The boxier the briefcase, the more formal it appears

For more in depth information on this tried and true staple of the working world, check out StylGuyed’s ‘Guide to Briefcases’

The Satchel

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It’s soft-sided. It’s middling in size. It has a sling for you to wear it over your shoulder. It rests around your hip. It’s a satchel. This is a great bag when executed properly, which basically means that it should be big enough to fit the essentials of a day around town – cell, camera, wallet, etc. – and ideally made out of the best material you can afford.

The Messenger Bag

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Though there’s a lot of confusion between messengers and satchels, it’s pretty easy to differentiate the two once you learn about them. A satchel is made of softer material and sits at your hip, while a messenger is more utilitarian; made for life on a bike, it is often rugged and designed to sit up on your back.

They’re made of tough materials such as canvas and ballistic nylon, and lined with rubberized material to keep its contents dry should you get caught in the rain. Resting on the middle of your back when slung over one shoulder, they’re meant to stay unobtrusive while bike messengers dodge cars and pedestrians. All told, it’s a great bag for commuters, students, and of course, cyclists.

The Tote

mens guide to bags 6 How to Find the Right Bag
It’s the bag of choice for the uptown fashionistas and donors to telethons. Though tote bags have traditionally been a staple of your mom’s closet, runway staples like Gucci, Versace and Ferragamo have started to add them to their men’s lines.

Since it lacks structure, this bag is more suited to a day out at the beach than it is to everyday business. To maintain a masculine and stylish look, lean towards materials like leather and heavy canvas.

The Duffel Bag

mens guide to bags 7 How to Find the Right Bag
Now this, this is a great bag. The Duffel is an enduring symbol of freedom; a single compartment that a man can throw his essentials into before he hits the road, a sturdy friend of the traveler. There are very few rules with duffel bags; namely, select one with thick, sturdy material (leather, canvas, waxed cotton) that comes in a dark or neutral color. Keep it clean and dry, and it will provide you with years of companionship.

The Duffel is an enduring symbol of freedom; a single compartment that a man can throw his essentials into before he hits the road, a sturdy friend of the traveler


  • Whatever bag you choose to go with, the most important thing is to consider your needs and options: consider what you really need to carry, and size accordingly.
  • The most fashion forward of you would be more comfortable with a tote, but if you’re looking for a no-frills gym bag, then perhaps a duffel or backpack is best.
  • Most men have more than three or four bags, so start with what you need and build from there.


Burning bag inquiries? Serious satchel questions? Feel free to send EveryGuyed all your queries, or solutions!


Xiaoli Li
Xiaoli Li is an often-missed former editor at the EveryGuyed network. He's currently working as a freelance writer, and probably yelling at a soccer game somewhere out there.
Xiaoli Li

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